Friday, December 17, 2010

Retro-Engineering: Creature Catalog

Every so often I wander over to the Creature Catalog to see what they're up to. Besides being the source of the very excellent Tome of Horrors (without which NOD would be much less interesting), the CC has converted hundreds of old school creatures for use in 3rd edition games. Many years after 3rd edition going out of print and the end to the first phase of the d20 revolution, CC is still cranking out these conversions, often of monsters I had never even heard of. Here's their ten latest conversions retro-engineered into a more old school format.

Tirichiks look like a hybrid of white dragon and centipede, with two tentacles tipped by sharp spikes. Tirichiks are an apex predator of the tundra. They attack from ambush, hiding in snowdrifts or crevasses and then springing out at their prey. They can momentarily detach their skull from their spinal column, allowing them to make quick strikes from 10 ft away. These quick strikes score double damage if they hit, but attempting them lowers the tirichik's AC by 2. Sensory organs on the beast's tentacles give it a heightened ability to detect foes, lowering its chances to be surprised to 1 in 1d8. Tentacles can be attacked separately from the body, having an AC of 0 [19] and 2d6 hit points. They are severed when reduced to 0 hp, though severed tentacles are regrown in 2d10+10 days. Tirichiks are immune to cold and can walk on ice with no penalties to movement.

Tirichik: HD 13; AC 1 [18]; Atk 1 bite (3d6), 2 tentacles (1d6); Move 12 (B6); Save 3; CL/XP 14/2600; Special: Elongate neck, ice-walking, immune to cold.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FR 14 - The Great Glacier

Shee (Banshee Rider)
Shee look like eyeless fey maidens with long, white hair. They wear highly ornamented plate armor and ride long-maned, eyeless horses. Shee always carry long, insubstantial lances composed of shadow-stuff. Shee are undead creature. Although they appear to be a rider and mount, they are in fact a single creature, inseparable without the use of a sharp axe backed up by mighty thews. Shee can ride over any surface, including water, without penalty. Shee exist to destroy - even attacking other undead when there is nothing else to slay. A turned undead will not flee, but only turn its attention to a different creature. A shee that is struck in combat utters a terrible scream that kills the four nearest creatures unless they pass a saving throw. The scream can only be uttered once every 1d4 rounds and no more than 3 times per day. After screaming, the shee vanishes, moving magically to a distant place. Creatures that are struck by a shee and survive are treated as being blessed, but only against other undead. This effect is permanent, although it can be removed with a wish spell. A shee's shadow lance ignores non-magical armor and, in addition to normal damage, inflicts 1d3 points of strength damage. If separated from the shee, the lance disappears and reforms in the shee's hand the next round.

Shee: HD 9; AC -2 [21]; Atk 1 lance (1d10 + Strength drain) or 2 hooves (1d6); Move 24 (F20); Save 6; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Death wail, shadowlance, vanish.

Copyright 1990 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FA1 - Halls of the High King

An opinicus is a griffin with the head and wings of an eagle, the body of a lion and the tail of a camel. They wander alone or in pairs in desert wastelands and are champions of They can use the following psychic powers as a 7th level psychic: Astral projection, id insinuation, mind thrust and telekinesis. They can also cast spells and turn undead as a 7th level cleric. The gaze of an opinicus flames with divine fire; all wicked creatures within 30 feet who meet this gaze suffer 2d6 damage and are blinded for 1 round (save negates blindness). The opinicus can use its gaze once every 1d4+1 rounds.

Opinicus: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), beak (1d4); Move 20 (F30); Save 9 (8 vs. mental effects); CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Psychic powers, spells, sun sparkles, turn undead.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II

Netherbirds are the black, grotesque carion crows of Hell, serving devils and demons as messengers. They dwell on craggy moors in flocks of 3d10 birds. Their eggs are black and leathery and hatch unattended, being warmed by an inner hellfire. Netherbirds are 3 feet long and have wingspans of 6 to 7 feet. They are intelligent and can speak.

Netherbird: HD 2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d3); Move 6 (F24); Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to fire.

Copyright 1989 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FRE1 – Shadowdale

Kupuks look like large dogs (6' long, 3' tall at shoulder) with walrus-like hides, grey or yellowish fur and spiked tails.The people of the tundra and taiga use them as pack animals, for they are very loyal companions. Kupuk's are egg-layers, like the platypus. When defending its eggs or pups, the kupuk gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage. Training a kupuk is fairly easy, taking about six weeks to teach them a trick. Kupuk young are worth 1,000 gp, and professional animal trainers charge 500 gp to train them. Kupuks can carry up to 200 pounds without losing any speed.

Kupuk: HD 5; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d8), tail (1d12); Move 9 (S18); Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Frenzy, immune to cold.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FR 14 - The Great Glacier

A gorse looks like a 3" tall elf child with delicate wings. They carry small bows and swords and quivers of tiny arrows. They live under gorse bushes, and although secretive, they are friendly towards folk who bring them fruit, bread or milk. Gorse are fond of magic potions, and usually have 1d3 in their lair. Gorse have several magical abilities they can use once per day: They can create magical distractions (save or look away); magically exterminate small vermin within 20 feet (save or die); cast Mirror Image and cause thorn bushes within a 5-ft square area grow rapidly. These thorn bushes slow people moving through them to one half-speed and cause 1d3 points of damage. Gorse tip their arrows with a poison that causes confusion for 1d4 rounds unless a saving throw is passed. All gorse can cast the spell Mirror Image once per day. Once

Gorse: HD 1d2; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 sword or bow (1 dmg); Move 3 (F12); Save 18 (16 vs. spells); CL/XP 1/15; Special: Poison, sprout, exterminate.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Dragon Magazine #180

Brambles resemble tiny (3" tall) elves with swarthy, wrinkled skin and long nails on its hands and feet. They wear plate armor, the back of which is covered in a brace of spines. They are among the most vicious and aggressive of the fair folk, taking delight in hunting pixies and sprites and other small fey. They can charm small animals into serving as their mounts. Brambles are fierce warriors, and charging bramble scores an additional 3 points of damage with its attacks. A brambles spines inject a poison that causes a sickened condition (-1 to all rolls) for 2d4 rounds (save applies). Once per day, they can target the wings of a small creature with a net of entangling thorns. With a successful ranged attack, the creature's wings are bound and useless for 6d6 rounds.

Bramble: HD 1d3; AC 3 [16] or 1 2 [17] in plate armor; Atk 1 lance (1 dmg) or spines (1 dmg + poison); Move 3 (F12); Save 18 (16 vs. magic); CL/XP 1/15; Special: Poison, charm mount, spines.

Copyright 1994 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Dragon Magazine #206

Behemoth (Giant Hippopotamus)
Behemoths are massive hippos (12' long, 3 tons), capable of overturning good-sized boats. They are as aggressive and territorial as their smaller cousins.

Behemoth: HD 10; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 bite (3d6); Move 9 (S15); Save 5; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: None.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II

Pseudo-undead (Template)

Pseudo-undead are living humanoids who resemble specific types of undead creatures. You can turn any humanoid into a pseudo-undead by altering its stats as follows:

- A pseudo-undead gains any claw and bite attacks of the undead creature is resembles, dealing 1d4 points of damage with its claws and 1d6 points of damage with its bite.

- Pseudo-undead can see in the dark.

- Pseudo-ghouls have a paralyzing touch (save or paralyzed for 1d3 rounds).

- Pseudo-ghasts have a paralyzing touch (see above) and are surrounded by an overwhelming stench; creatures within 10 feet must pass a saving throw or be sickened (-1 to all rolls) for 1d6+4 rounds.

-Pseudo-wights spread a disease with their touch. This fever deals 1d4 dexterity and constitution damage each day until the afflicted succeeds at a saving throw vs. disease at a -5 penalty.

- Pseudo-wraiths have physical forms, but always wear wispy shrouds or robes to obscure their bodies. They walk so lightly as to leave no trace. Their claw attacks are poisonous, causing 2d4 points of damage on a failed save.

- Pseudo-spectres have physical forms surrounded by a faint luminosity. Their claw attacks are poisonous, the poison weakening (-2 to hit and damage) a person for 1 day.

- Pseudo-vampires are like feral savages clad in the silk finery of civilization. They usually wear armor and fight with weapons. They have claw and bite attacks. Their bites cause persistent bleeding that saps a person of 1 hit point per round until staunched or magically healed. Their claws spread the "red ache", a disease that robs a person of 1d6 points of strength each day until they succeed at a saving throw vs. disease at a -6 penalty.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II

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